McGill 58, Concordia 54: McGill Hangs on to Win Nailbiter over Stingers in Lengvari Cup

McGill Secures First Place in the Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec

Adrian Armstrong suits up against McGill in crosstown rivalry matchup. Photo Caroline Marsh
Olivier Simon pours in two of his 12 points as defender JJ Hamel-Carey watches on. Photo Caroline Marsh
Stingers guard Oge Nwoko drives baseline with McGill defender Quarry Whyne guarding him. Photo Caroline Marsh

In a close game, it’s often the little things that make the difference.

While both teams lived up to the rivalry, down the line, McGill held off the Stingers at the John Dore gymnasium, sealing home court advantage throughout the playoffs.

“Like we’ve established what we call the McGill way of playing,” said McGill head coach David DeAveiro after the game. “Which is, effort for 40 minutes and concentration for 40 minutes.”

McGill raced out to a 12-4 lead in the first quarter, behind guard Sam Jenkins’ early six points, including a breakaway slam and forward Levi Londole’s strong finishes inside.

McGill held Concordia to their lowest scoring quarter of the year, despite both teams shooting below 40 per cent in the game. As fans struggled to find space in the stands, players hustled for breathing room on the court.

Down 16-9 to start the second quarter, Concordia came out buzzing. The Stingers went on a 11-3 run, to take the lead up 20-19, with a three ball from guard Nathanial Boisvert and a pair from sharp shooter Adrian Armstrong.

Playing in his first game back from injury sustained over a month ago, Armstrong felt unfazed about his time away from the court. He says business is business.

“My injury doesn’t bother me at all, when I get out there, it’s just to ball,” said the senior who finished with a team-high 13 points in 28 minutes of action.

Momentum shifted; the crowd grew more and more into the game as the Stingers outscored McGill 21-12 to in the quarter, taking a 30-28 point lead into the half.

“We were able to hang on. I think this is the toughest gym to play in. So anytime you can win here it’s a pretty good feeling.” David DeAveiro

Costly Mistakes

In the third quarter, taking care of possession became an issue for the Stingers and in a game where first place, a cup and home court advantage was on the line, McGill made them pay, scoring 15 total points off their turnovers.

Concordia had 10 in the quarter, meanwhile DeAveiro’s side used their five-out offense to move the ball from side to side, enable looks from the outside and take a 46-40 lead into the fourth quarter.

Stingers head coach Rastko Popovic said his team lacked focus in the quarter and in the game, which makes it hard to deliver when the time comes.

Stingers guard Sami Jahan has quiet scoring night with nine points. Photo Caroline Marsh

“There’s just too many things that mattered we didn’t do right. We didn’t deserve to win the game with our turnovers,” said Popovic. “Can’t turn it over 23 times in a under 60 point game and win the game.”

For Armstrong, who also led his team in scoring in last year’s Lengvari Cup triumph, the loss won’t sit well for now but his hunger for victory hasn’t changed.

“I don’t think I performed. We came out without the W […] But if we buckled down and made a few more plays, hopefully it would’ve [gone] our way but I mean I just wanna win,” said Armstrong.

McGill survived a late comeback by the Stingers in the fourth quarter to hoist the second annual Lengvari Cup. With the win, McGill hands Concordia just its second loss of the season at home and DeAveiro knows the win is something to appreciate.

“We were able to hang on,” he said. “I think this is the toughest gym to play in. So anytime you can win here it’s a pretty good feeling.”

In their last two meetings, the game has been decided by less than five points. With playoffs less than two weeks away, and a potential matchup in the RSEQ title game, McGill guard JJ Hamel-Carey says, “we’re looking out for that challenge and we’re gonna be ready,” as his team had three starters in double figures in the clash.

The Stingers—still without fifth-year guard Cedrick Coriolan—now 9-5, will look to close out their last week of regular season play on a high note, facing Bishop’s University Thursday at 8 p.m. in Sherbrooke and Saturday against Université Laval at home at 4 p.m.